Improving the safety of cosmetic treatments
Cosmetic treatments are growing in popularity and new non-surgical cosmetic procedures are rapidly emerging on the market. However, the existing legislation and regulation of providers of cosmetic procedures is not fit for purpose. Local authorities in most of England do not have adequate powers to ensure treatments are carried out safely by qualified and competent practitioners. There are no mandatory education, training or qualification requirements for the practitioners of most procedures, and training courses vary significantly in length, content and quality.
What are we doing?
We have been calling for an England-wide licensing scheme for non-surgical cosmetic procedures. We believe this would be a significant step towards ensuring that all those who carry out cosmetic treatments are competent and qualified and that the treatments take place in safe and hygienic premises.
Working with a coalition of 20 organisations, we drafted and supported a key amendment to the Health and Care Bill, aimed at making the cosmetics industry safer in England. With the support of a group of cross-party MPs and Lords, we managed to get our amendment accepted by the Government to be part of the Health and Care Act. Through this amendment, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care now has the power to introduce a licensing regime for non-surgical cosmetic procedures in England.
See our press release on the amendment.
Earlier this year, in response to a joint letter that we submitted to the Department of Health and Social Care alongside the Joint Council for Cosmetic Practitioners and the British Beauty Council, we were pleased to receive assurance from the Government of its commitment to introducing such a scheme.
Our policy reports
In 2021 we conducted some research together with the Institute of Licensing to fill gaps in the evidence base. Our survey of environmental health and licensing practitioners found that 9 in 10 (90%) agreed that an England-wide licencing scheme could improve the regulatory system.
We have published two reports on the regulation of cosmetic treatments.
Our first report, A fragmented picture: Regulation of cosmetic treatments in the UK, brings together information on the prevalence, public awareness and existing regulation of these treatments across the UK.
Our second report, The ugly side of beauty: improving the safety of cosmetic treatments in England, reveals the findings of our survey of regulators in England, who are responsible for keeping the public safe, and the serious gaps they see in the protections.
This sets our recommendations for changes needed to ensure that these treatments operate in the safest way possible and so that regulators have adequate enforcement powers to protect public health.
The UK Government has now launched an important consultation on the new scheme. We have warmly welcomed this.
The new scheme will involve a practitioner licence and a premises licence and will make it an offence for anybody to carry out non-surgical cosmetic treatments without a license. It will also make it illegal to treat anyone under the age of 18 with such treatments.
The scheme seeks to ensure that people who administer cosmetic procedures are properly experienced, trained and qualified, have the necessary insurance cover and operate from premises that are clean, hygienic and suitably licensed.
The scheme will be administered by local authorities across England.
See further information about the new scheme in FAQs from the Joint Council for Cosmetic Practitioners.
We now look forward to responding to the consultation and will continue working in partnership with key organisations to influence the shape and nature of the scheme.
See our press release on the consultation.
Creating better regulation of this industry is vital if we are to ensure consumer safety and create a genuine level playing field for practitioners.